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one of the ways we get ads, ad agencies go digital. we are seeing more donations because a lot of them don't want to low away a lifetime worth of analog tapes. so they send them to us. that's been a fantastic way we've gotten donations recently as well. >> what type of political advertisements do you have in this collection? >> just about every type. we have ads from positive imagery and negative imagery of candidates to ads discussing the issues at hand. issues that have changed over the course of many decades, but many relevant patterns still stay the same. negative advertising. concern with, quote unquote, flip-flopping positions. establishing a candidate's values and so forth. >> what type of races? >> everything from local races all the way up to presidential.
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we do focus on north american, united states ads, but we do have some foreign spots as well. but the bulk of the 95,000-plus commercials in our collection are united states political commercials. this is our equipment storage room, and this is our refrigerator, where we keep our film canisters. i'll just pop that open very briefly so you can take a look inside. >> what type of commercials would be on these film? >> these are primarily our older presidential campaign commercials. a lot of this is the original material that started the archive when julian canter began obtaining it and archiving it in the late '50s. he'd been volunteering for the adlai stevenson campaign, and during that time he'd made a lot of political contacts as well as contacts through his television work. and he realized that a lot of these old advertisements and reels were getting thrown out. so he convinced his contacts to give them to him and began the collection in the '50s.
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and when it was purchased by the university of oklahoma in 1985 it contained about 25,000 commercials, and it's grown today to over 95,000. >> you had mentioned negative campaigning. when did that become more precedent in these commercials? >> that has actually been the case in almost every campaign. some of the earliest material we have is negative campaigning. we've got ads from adlai stevenson against eisenhower. we have the famous daisy girl ad that was against goldwater. it's very easy in the visual medium of a short television ad to connect things with powerful imagery. >> ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, zero.
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>> these are the stakes. to make a world in which all of god's children can live or to go into the dark. we must either love each other or we must die. >> vote for president johnson on november 3rd. >> you also see patterns of flip-flopping. we have several commercials from the famous john kerry windsurfing ad through to -- we have one called the carter cartoon that has a caricature of president carter flip-flopping. >> he promised to create more jobs, and now there are 8 million americans out of work. he promised to balance the budget. what he gave us was a $61 billion deficit. he promised not to raise taxes, but taxes have risen more than 70%. the time is now for strong leadership. reagan for president. >> you see in the changes of
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political advertisements over time not just changes in political approaches, which actually have pretty continuous patterns, but you also see changes in the culture that is used to kind of capture people's attention. the old i like ike jingles. we have one that features a lounge singer singing a song. quite a few of the old jingle ads that are kind of long and wouldn't hold people's attention today but were very popular at the time. ♪ a man who knows what to do when he gets to be the prez ♪ ♪ i love the gov, the governor of illinois ♪ ♪ he is the gov that brings the dove of peace and joy ♪ ♪ when illinois the gop double-cross ♪ ♪ he is the one who told all the crooks get lost ♪
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♪ adlai, love you madly ♪ and what you did for your own great state ♪ ♪ you're gonna do for the rest of the 48 ♪ ♪ didn't know much about him before he came ♪ ♪ but now my heart's a ballot that bears his name ♪ ♪ because i listened to what he had to say ♪ ♪ i know that on election day ♪ we're gonna choose the gov that we love ♪ ♪ he is the gov nobody can shove ♪ ♪ we'll make the gov the president of the u ♪ ♪ the he and the usa >> if you look at current ads, rick santorum, for example, did a pop-up video style ad in the nature of vh1. so you can kind of see reflections of american culture being used to promote various candidates. youtube and other video internet distribution sites have been instrumental, actually, in changing how we capture ads. before when we would capture ads
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we were kind of dependent on what people would donate. so we might not get a complete run of ads, for example, one political party might donate their materials in a given year and the other one wouldn't. and now we can get a much more complete set of videos because we can go out and capture that material ourselves rather than being dependent on donations from campaigns or television stations when they're done with material. that being said, we would still like to get donations of material from the original source because it's generally higher quality. i think the value of the collection in one or two political ads, anyone can get those these days on the internet or record them off your tv if you've still got the older recording devices or new tivo. but when you have an ad, a number of ads like this, 95,000 together, you really get a sense of the depth and breadth of
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information that's being presented by the candidates. and i think that i'd like visitors to get an appreciation for our collection in that sense. >> learn more about oklahoma city and cspan's local content vehicles at cspanorg. next month we will feature wichita, kansas. you are watching american history tv all weekend on c-span 3. tony horowitz on the 1859 harper's ferry raid which he details in his latest book "mid might rising." mr. horowitz talks about the impact on the abolitionist
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movement and civil war. >> you can't wiggle. >> for most of us, it is a wonderful welcoming to our home here in waterford. to celebrate both the journey which is really the result of the work of many in this room as well as to celebrate our dear friend and favorite author tony horowitz. yes, indeed. under the economic conditions, thank you. he is selling his house.
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>> you can tour it afterwards. >> we are here through the journey of hill ohallowed groun. engaging our partners as well as our hers in bringing to the f e forethe the history to monticello. we could not be more thrilled to have tony with us who has not only been a best-selling author of "con fed rafederates in the " his newest, "midnight rising" which is about john brown and events that changed the course of american history forever. he worked for many years for
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"the wall street journal" and "the new york times." he's a swre, very dear friend. one of the things i want to tell you about tony, he really and truly has a notion we like the say that we put people in the boots of those that went before us in order for them to know as david mccullough told us years ago, those people who lived long you a go didn't know they were living long ago. tony one-ups it. not only do our programs try to put students and visitors and teachers into the boots of those long ago, tony wants to get not into their boots but into their minds. and he has done that every book he has written.
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we are here today. a conversation and then we are going to open the floor to your questions to this amazing man. because you are our friend we can say you are an amazing man. >> they say you can't go home. lived here for 13 years and it still feels like home. there are five people in the audience i still don't know. good to be back. >> we are not very far from harper's ferry. some of us are curious to understand how this his tore cam landscape influenced so much of your writing. whether it is confederates in the attic or other articles have you written.
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as we are so dedicated to this historic swath of land from gettysburg to monticello would like to open this perhaps gratuitously with a little bit of your insight and thoughts about this landscape and how it it inspires us. >> i thought you would ask something did you have which is why i didn't write this book, why lived in waterford. as the crow flies we are 15 miles from harper's ferry. hi to move to massachusetts before i thought great book. you know. my backyard. my former backyard. yeah, i mean. speaking to this subject at least, first of all, i mean, i wrote "confederates in the attic" because of what happened 50 yards from here when re-en t re-enactors stumbled into my front yard in waterford because they were re-enact for a movie here. it is a great historic landscape. with this book, i think part of what i drew -- drew me to write about it is that harper's ferry
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is still so intact. it is an incredible mix of natural beauty and historical hauntedness really. the sights associated with brown are there. you can go to the kennedy farm where brown and his gorilla band hid out in the lead-up to his raid and had this sort of tense, sweaty summer, you know, in their hideout with 20 gorillas and two women in this log cabin pretending to be farmers and entrepreneurs raern abolitions. you can go into harper's ferry and the -- many of the build rings still there including john brown's form as it is now known. you can go to the courthouse where he was tried.
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i can't think of many parts of the country where you can have experience can you not just relive the history lou the documents but go to the grounds wait happened. go to the places where the history happened. and as a writer i find that just a huge asect just to use one example while -- researching this book, on the 150th anniversary of brown's raid, i went the park service historian in harper's ferry and demeblted pilgrims and we marched the exact route brown and his men did on the night of october 16, 1859. it was a cold rain.
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it was a period rush from leaving your own time zone. we weren't wearing uniforms or carrying weapons or any of that. we had the horse. that's the kind of thing you can do in the hollow ground. most of american history sadly -- you know, you are going to hear traffic in the distance. you will have all kinds of intrusions that make it difficult to recapture that history. i have gotten would books out of "hallowed grounds." it is a special place. >> you remind me of something that's important to remember. that is that history is not compartmentalized. the entire swath of line has been formed of every generation it lived within it. i'm mindful of the fact we have president jefferson who lived at
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monticello, president madison, of course, president monroe, all of whom own slaves. all of whom each whether it is jefferson trying with the declaration of independence or madison with the constitution or monroe and others each had to address slavery. it was a pressing issue from the beginning. can you share your insights what you have seen with this bloody example john brown felt he had to live as a result of the failures of our society over the years to actually wrestle this down? i'm not blaming them. we know in context it is easy to look back and say it was more -- how could they have ever. but in fact, they could have never created a country under the circumstances had they tried to address all of the problems.
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first, your backward looking perspective, i really -- a really critically morally imperative issue early on. what struck to john brown? >> john brown was born in 1800. both his grand fathers fight in the revolution. his great-great-great whatever puritans are in new england. this is still a new country at this point, and they feel very connected the to the revolutionary generation. this is still an experiment. there's very much this sense that, you know, we need it to make this -- we need to fight to make this work.
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with slavery, i guess what struck me most of all, i will blame them, but i won't blame the individuals specifically. i'll blame the whole country. i think too often when we look back at pre-civil war america, we think of the south as a sort of society apart. this sort of strange or maybe this is the view in the north. this futile remnant that was clinging to plantation slavery, this aristocratic system that was destined to wither away as the country modernized and became industrialized. also kind of "gone with the wind" sometimes quite romantic view of this seemingly doomed world. when you immerse in the diaries and letters and news reports of this era, as you said, they don't know their living history. they can't see what's coming in the future. you see things entirely different. slavery was completely of the fabric of this whole country. just to give a few examples politically, 13 of the first 16 presidential elections are won by slaveholders. it's not until 1852 that we have
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a major party ticket that doesn't have a slaveholder on t. the slave-holding south controlling the supreme court. that's between the nation's founding and civil war. slavery in the south wasn't a world apart. they were really driving the nation in many ways. economically cotton by the civil war is roughly three quarters of the nation's exports. i mean, this was the oil of its day. the whole country was hooked on it, on northern mills are churning out shoes and clothing largely for slaves. the value of slaves alone was greater than that of the nation's railroads, industries and banks put together. so, you know, i'm sorry. this whole sort of terra image of this doomed romantic world simply isn't accurate.
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we as a nation are all culpable in this. we were all dependent on this system of forced labor. so i think that's, you know -- when you talk about the continuum, this is a story, yes, that begins in jamestown in 1619, but really with the revolution and then the constitution where they sort of fudge the slavery issue. one of the most remarkable things about the constitution is she don't mention of word slave or slavery in the entire document, even though it comes up in the first article. right from the beginning they were aware that we have a contradiction here. we were creating a nation that's ostensibly pledged to liberty and equality oops except for this huge exception. right from the start. essentially brown and harper's ferry is the end -- well, not the end, but a piece of this
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much longer story. >> let me ask you this. i mean, what i love about all your books is that you really do get into their minds by actually traveling in their footsteps and seeing it. i mean, for james cook you literally sailed on a ship like his, like captain hook all the way around the world and worked on the top of a 100-foot mast to get into his mind. for "confederates in the attic," you trooped around more battlefields with more bloated bodies to get into the mind of the reenactors and those. with john brown, given all that you've done and know about this man, what was the most profoundly riveting thing once you get into his mind. had a you found compelled him to
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this life long ambition of ridding slavery from this country? >> i went to the places where history happened and walked in his footsteps in kansas and harper's ferry and other places. we have the letters. these are wonderfully literal people. brown, though not a terribly educated man, had a wonderful writing style. thank god his handwriting is legible. which i learned is not the case. there is one character in the story where -- you just simply can't, you know, you turn it upside down. open your eyes and close them. you still can't read it. brown's letters are -- have a kind of spare eloquence in -- and so you feel you can really understand this man both from his own writing and from what
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other people said about him. there is not one about his abolition about savery. there isn't an epiphany. he writes his autobiography late in his life. talking about his childhood. he claims it was about a slave boy -- seeing a slave boy being beaten when he was 12. i think it went much deeper. his father was an early abolitionist. he was a staunch calvinist. part of that fate was a belief in really bearing witness to an opposing sin in yourself and to others. being almost a sort of moral policeman and slavery certainly was the great collective sin of that day.
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i think it came from john brown's temperament. most are really passivists. and they believe the way to fight sleighery is through education and moral uplift. he can't stand cravenness in the face of evil. he someone that wants to punch back. i think there's this temperamental part of him as well that he looks around and sees the nation really bullied by the slave-holding south throughout his life. he wants to stand up to it. so i think that's part of it, too. i wouldn't say there's any once experience or part of him that results in this militant abolitionism. >> you know, some suggest and you addressed this in your book that he knew when he had only 18 men to go in and take over an armory which he then set in virginia, that it was not
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successful and his ultimate goal was to be a martyr. what is your opinion about that? it was frederick douglas who set up a historic college that while john brown didn't end the war and ended slavery, he was the war that ended slavery. so if you could share with us your thoughts on whether or not he knew ultimately that it was going to be more successful to be able to gain access to the arms. >> right. this is kind of the $60,000 question about john brown. what exactly is it that he intended because he changes his story. you know, kind of a spoiler alert here. john brown attacks harper's ferry to seize the guns and he fails. that's the spoiler alert. but i speculate in the book that because we can't know absolutely that i think he had sort of two plans. that in his own mind this was sort of a win-win.
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either he would succeed in this rather scheme of a small guerrilla band inciting this war of liberation, or he would die as a martyr and bring on the great conflict that he believed was necessary to extinguish slavery. i think he had two plans. in his own mind this was a win-win. either he would succeed in this scheme of a small gore ail band inciting this war of liberation or he would die in harper's ferry as a martyr and essentially bring on the great conflict that he believed was necessary to extinguish slavery. in that sense, i think he was triumphant. he saw where this was leading, that only bloodshed could end this, and that he would spark this either by a successful guerrilla campaign or by an unsuccessful one that so shocked the nation and stirred the conscience of anti-slavery
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northerners that, you know, a great war would result. it didn't happen exactly in those terms, but in that sense he succeeded. >> so it begs the question, what do you think would have happened if he had not planned the raid, failure or success, and under any definition with the rest of the american history? >> all right. >> it's one of those great what ifs. i've toyed with it. again we can't know, obviously. you can have lots of fun with this. you can't be wrong. in my own view abraham lincoln would not have been elected president, which was the final spur to cessation and then civil war. i think john brown's raid and lincoln's election were the one-two punch that drove the south out of the union. it's a slightly complicated story, and i won't spell it all out. but the raid occurs in the early
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stages of the 1860 campaign for president. their campaigns were nothing like ours today, but at this stage lincoln is really a second or third tier candidate in the republican field. the raid does several things. first of all, it significantly tarnishes his opponents in the republican field, particularly william seward, the front-runner, who comes to be too closely aligned with the brown view of the universe. this is like 9/11. this raid hits the nation like a shock. people are scored and think war, and seward is someone who has made quite perceived as militant statements. sam chase gave money to brown, and here's lincoln, who then very deathy uses brown as a foil him to position himself a safe
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choice in the republican field. we have these quiet out there guys like brown. that's not what the republican party is about. we're not about taking on slavery in the states where it exists. we're not john browns. he talks about this quite explicitly in his famous union speech. he talks about john brown at length. so i think it contributes to getting the other nomination and the other effect it has is that it begins the furry in the south. we can't trust any northerner so that steven douglas, who has sort of seen the likely democratic nominee who could unite north and south, the party is split. douglas is one nominee, and then
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